My apartment complex had flooded and I needed a place to stay for the night. Living near the beach, it can be difficult to find inexpensive lodgings during the late Spring and Summer and just as I suspected, everything in town was booked solid through September. The only options available to me were assorted hotels which were $200+ per night and a handful of motels located a mile or two inward from the shore. I was going to be attending a party that night, so I began looking for something near the party's location. Although I did manage to find a motel just about a half block from my destination, I was a bit dissapointed in it's lack of character. I wanted to stay somewhere that had a more "home-like" feel to it, so I continued to search Google maps for something with a little more "flavor" to it.
..and boy did I find it! And luck of all luck - it was just about 3 blocks away from the area where I would be hanging out that night. PERFECT! I saw a brief orange and fuscia flash across my map. I moused over and all my troubles came to an end. I dragged and dropped my little orange google man down at the address and had a look around. What I saw was a quaint motel painted in vibrant colors attached to a Brasilian restaurant (Cafe Brasil) that I have passed a million times without ever really seeing it. I proceed to the website listed and read the list of amenities: Large Flat Screen TV, Kitchenette, Queen Bed...it all seemed too good to be true. I suspected that there had to be a catch. Something had to be wrong or misrepresented - I was just sure of it.
I called the motel and the woman who answered seemed cheerful and helpful. She informed me that there were only 2 rooms left in this 18 room motel. "First come, first serve", she warned me. I hesitated still suspecting that it was all somehow a trick. "only two rooms left", the words kept echoing in my head. I decided to take a chance and I have never been so pleased with any other split second decision.
Villa Brasil is a quaint motel on Washington Blvd with lovely blooming bougainvillea dangling from the roof and flowing gracefully all across the place. You would never know this little oasis was even there, if you were looking from the street. Once you pull into the complex, there are 18 single story rooms set up in a U shaped courtyard in which every guest is granted a free parking spot. In Los Angeles, that alone is a huge plus when considering any hotel/motel booking. The courtyard is painted in lovely, vibrant shades of orange and each room appears to be named after various birds which are native to Brasil, with a portrait of the bird on the door. In front of each room, there are wooden tables and chairs that are chock full of character. Each table has a lovely candle on it and all of the candles are lit at night, adding to the pleasant motel ambiance. Many of the tables feature "built in" game boards to keep travelers occupied in the event that the large Flat Screen TV's aren't enough. On the night when we were there, we witnessed several tables surrounded by happy, laughing people playing spirited games of chess, checkers and the like. Througout the courtyard there are speakers installed which were playing 1930's-40's blues and swing jazz, on low volume (so as not to disturb the occupants), which really added to the very friendly and homey atmosphere. In fact, it just plain made me happy to hear those wonderful old tunes whenever I stepped outside.
When we first walked into our room, we were instantly greeted by the smell of fresh, clean laundry, which was a big surprise as I was expecting the usual ancient cigarette and smut smell I am accostomed to getting when I first walk into most motels.Inside of our room. The windows were all open, which appears to be common practice there and as far as I'm concerned, it really made a difference to walk into a freshly aired out room. It was so comforting and pleasant. I felt like we hit the jackpot. We found the main wall behind the bed to be covered with a lovely mural which featured a floral theme with happy little bird in the corner. The bed was a queen bed covered in actual "real people" blankets and sheets - not just the standard homogenized white sheets and neutral comforters that most hotels/motels tend to feature. The bed was comfortable enough (although I have slept in more comfortable beds), but the fresh, clean smell of the blankets and sheets was enough to get me past any issues I might have had with the slight lumpiness of the bed. At this point, I am certainly not complaining! There was a small kitchenette which had a bowl of fresh fruit waiting for us along with a coffee maker with free coffee packets, small fridge, a table and 2 bar stools and a sink. There was a small toilet area with a shower and mirror. It was a very basic accomodation, but it had so much personality that I felt like more like I was on vacation in some beautiful foreign place than staying at a motel on a busy highway in Los Angeles. At first I noticed quite a bit of noise coming from the boulevard outside, but after about 10 minutes, the sound somehow just melted away. Our room was somewhat close to the cafe and I was concerned that we might be troubled by restaurant noise, but we never heard a sound coming from that area. I was really amazed.
The only real negative was that whenever our immediate neighbors took a shower, we could hear their water running quite loudly in our room. It is a small price to pay for all the comfort and ambience we found here for the $76 p/n price. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to eat at the Cafe because it was off business hours when we were there. But we did find a menu posted in our room and the food looks deeeelish! We decided we would be returning to give the restaurant a try very soon. I would highly recommend this sweet little motel to weary travelers passing through who long for a taste of "home".
Villa Brasil is a hidden Gem in the concrete jungle and I'm so glad we found it!